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Eliot Gkinnell Mears 

Executive Secretary, The Survey of Race Relations, 
Headquarters at Stanford University 

Publication No 
Reprinted from 
The Far East— Vol. CXXII of The Annals of the 
American Academy of Political and Social Sciencj 
Philadelphia, N 

:r : --:i;-; 

California's Attitude Towards the Oriental 

By Eliot Grinnell Mears 

Executive Secretary, The Survey of Race Relations, headquarters at Stanford University 

The Survey of Race Relations 

IN the field of Oriental -American 
relations, the significance of Cali- 
fornia is out of all proportion to its area 
and population. The attitude of Cali- 
fornia and California ns has largely 
determined American foreign policy 
toward the Oriental. 

The reasons for this situation do not 
appear on the surface. Why should 
three per cent of the population of con- 
tinental America be the major factor in 
these diplomatic relations? Analogies 
made between Orientals on the Pacific 
Coast and negroes in the Southern 
states fail to provide the desired clues 
because of the marked points of differ- 
ence, among which may be mentioned : 
eligibility to citizenship, social status, 
language difficulties, organization, in- 
dustry, thrift, attitude towards women, 
pride, psychology and human geogra- 
phy. A fundamental distinction is 
that there is no African emperor to 
watch over the interests of descendants 
of former emigrants, while on the 
Pacific there stands a territorially small 
but sensitive and powerful nation ready 
to protect its nationals. Nevertheless, 
a balancing of these various factors, as 
weighed by the writer, an adopted son 
of Yankee birth, who expresses views 
not necessarily his own, makes it appear 
all the more remarkable that the 
wishes of Californians and their com- 
monwealth should dominate this situa- 

It is in California, rather than in the 
northward states of Oregon and Wash- 
ington, that one finds leadership. 
There are three explanations : first, the 

great majority of Orientals on the 
Pacific Coast as well as in the United 
States (excluding Hawaii) have resided 
in California; second, Pacific Coast 
affairs have taken their cue mainly 
from California, and, in particular, the 
locality between San Francisco and 
Sacramento; and third, the cross cur- 
rents of the coast press unduly favor 
this state. Relative to point three, it 
is worth while to note that the news 
channels to and from California operate 
largely east and west; also, California 
news is fairly well distributed in Ore- 
gon, Washington and the Province of 
British Columbia, but the return news 
is meager. Therefore, the California 
attitude as expressed by the ever-in- 
fluential press permeates all sections of 
the country, including the Pacific 
Northwest. California assumes the 
role of the big brother of the. American 
Pacific Coast. 

Yet the national importance of the 
state is of far more consequence. The 
part California has played and is play- 
ing in the determination of this Amer- 
ican immigration policy is in marked 
contrast to the failure of the Southern 
states to convert the nation to their 
pronounced view on an intimate racial 
problem. Locally, it is believed that 
the fairly consistent attitude of the 
State Department towards Californian 
race problems has been too negative in 
character to admit of needed solutions : 
hence, the virile, determined and as- 
sertive state residents, both native son 
and adopted son, have not remained 
quiescent. Both official and private 
California take the position that they 
know. Practically every step taken is 


The Annals of the American Academy 

deliberate. Confidence, bred of first- 
hand knowledge not obtainable else- 
where, breeds cocksureness. The vac- 
illating national policy and Eastern 
public opinion in the 'seventies and 
'eighties towards the human floods of 
Chinese impress the Californian with 
the belief that persons who attempt to 
solve the racial destinies of California, 
therefore America, without even cross- 
ing the Mississippi River, much less the 
Sierra Nevadas, are not only ignorant 
but gullible. Not only is California 
determined, but her position seems to 
her in accordance with the facts. The 
situation is decisively stated by the 
conservative San Francisco Argonaut, 
when in the midst of the local school 
crisis of 1906, this editorial comment 

The reason that we in California are calm 
in the presence of this crisis is : first, because 
we know we are right; second, because we 
hope to convince our countrymen that we 
are right; third, that if we fail to so convince 
them, we will, whatever they do or say, do 
what we know to be right. 

But who are these Calif ornians? 
The answer is clear. They are out- 
standingly Americans, descendants of 
the same stock which makes our coun- 
try what it is to-day. Of the total 
population of 3,426,861 according to 
the Federal census of 1920, three- 
quarters are native-born whites and 
nearly one-fifth are foreign-born whites ; 
the remainder are mostly Japanese, 
Chinese, and American Indians. Fur- 
thermore, due to the westward migra- 
tion, the Golden State is more repre- 
sentatively American than probably 
any other state. For example, exclud- 
ing the foreign-born, of the total re- 
corded population of Sacramento, San 
Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and 
Long Beach, the percentages of native 
Americans born in other states, were 
50 per cent, 44 per cent, 20 per cent, 
20 per cent, and 12 per cent, respec- 

tively. Therefore, state sentiment is 
influenced to a major degree by persons 
who were not born and brought up in 
their most impressionable years — the 
age groups show this also — in their 
present habitat. With all due consid- 
eration to the streams of immigrants 
from northern and southern Europe, 
the native American is the natural and 
accepted leader in her affairs. 

This effect of sources of population 
on attitude towards Orientals must not 
be passed over without a mention that 
the Californian view is not localized. 
The early anti-Chinese traditions of the 
early days of Sacramento and San 
Francisco, for example, seem to the 
writer to have no direct casual effect 
upon the present community attitude. 
More potent factors are the relative 
number of other foreign nationalities, 
and the local attitude towards them, as 
in the case of the numerous Armenians 
and Russo-Germans in Fresno County 
where the Japanese have a much pre- 
ferred status, or that of Mexicans in 
parts of southern California where 
Orientals are often forgotten. Con- 
trary to popular belief, but confirmed 
in a conversation by a leading member 
of the Japanese community, it appears 
that the Japanese believe that they 
receive better treatment in the city by 
the Golden Gate than in any other 
large-sized city of California; an ex- 
planation due, it is said, both to the 
familiarity of its prominent citizens 
with the actual conditions and to their 
larger breadth of view, a parallel ex- 
perience to the treatment of the black 
race by Southern gentry. Further 
contributory evidence is produced by 
the strong, anti-Japanese resolutions 
passed recently by the Long Beach 
Chamber of Commerce, a community 
organization composed largely of Mid- 
dle Westerners who probably never 
saw an Oriental until a few years ago. 
Therefore, even at best, generalizations 

California's Attitude Towards the Oriental 

by anyone are unsatisfactory as applied 
to a state larger than New York and 
New England combined; yet certain 
marked tendencies stand forth. 

Causes of Present Situation 

Historically, the Oriental problem in 
California deserves extensive comment, 
but space forbids more than a mention 
of a few significant happenings. The 
Chinese who came to California were 
needed for mining, construction work 
and truck farming. Largely from the 
agricultural peasantry of Kwang Tung 
and Fukien, they engaged in menial 
work at low wages and long hours. 
They supplied a demand which had 
never been satisfied by native or other 
foreign workers ; therefore, they deserve 
due credit for their share in California's 
early progress. Their presence was not 
seriously resented until the hard times 
of the 'seventies, when falling wages 
and profits, and the invasion of the 
local market due to the opening of 
transcontinental lines, brought about 
serious unemployment among the 
white population. The immediate feel- 
ing against the conditions of unrest, by 
no means confined to California, 
brought forth a noted agitator, an 
Irishman named Denis Kearney, who 
directed his vehemence first against the 
wealthy, local corporations, later cen- 
tering his attacks upon the large Chi- 
nese population. Aroused public opin- 
ion became directed against coolie labor 
and against Oriental labor; the Chinese 
were not coolies, although they had 
virtually that status. In submitting 
the question of exclusion to popular 
verdict on September 3, 1879, the size 
of the vote as well as the unanimity 
were remarkable; all but 4000 regis- 
tered persons voted, and of the total 
vote of 155,521, all but 883 were in 
favor of the proposed act. There fol- 
lowed the Federal Chinese Exclusion 
Act of May 6, 1882; more recent legis- 

lation extended its operations inde- 
finitely. 1 

Similar to the Chinese, the Japanese 
were at the outset welcome to our 
shores. They were likewise peasants, 
mostly recruited from the Hawaiian 
Islands. They took the place in large 
measure of the Chinese population that 
had begun to diminish year by year. 
However, the substitution of Japanese 
for Chinese was not a quantitative 
affair because Californians soon per- 
ceived that, unlike the docile, easy- 
going and subservient Chinese, the 
Japanese were ambitious, aggressive, 
and were backed by a proud, imperial 
government. The Chinese did not 
seek equality; the Japanese were in- 
sistent upon equal social recognition. 
Whereas the crimes, misdemeanors and 
legal restrictions practised on the 
Chinese evoked no marked protest 
from their government, similar treat- 
ment of the Japanese — which, however, 
has always been of far less intensity — 
met with immediate exchange of diplo- 
matic notes or local pressure emanating 
from official Japan. A successful con- 
clusion of the Russo-Japanese War in 
1904-05 had produced, according to 
one well informed writer, "a certain 
arrogance or overbearing attitude in 
individual Japanese." The school 
question in San Francisco in 1906 
prompted a militant message from 
President Roosevelt to the state of 
California and the dispatching of the 
Secretary of the Navy Metcalf to re- 
port on the situation. 2 The Gentle- 

x The Asiatic Zone Act of February 5, 1917, 
directed largely against Southeastern Asia, does 
not apply to either China or Japan because of the 
separate arrangements with these two countries. 

2 The local grievance was that alien Japanese 
attending the local schools were frequently 
several years older than their white classmates, 
and that social conditions were open to suspicion. 
There was truth in the former assertion since it 
may be noted in Secretary Metcalf's report that 
in the sixth grade of San Francisco's Public 

The Annals of the American Academy 

men's Agreement of 1907 soon fol- 
lowed. In 1909 the Asiatic Exclusion 
League, composed of labor union rep- 
resentatives, met at the Labor Temple 
in Seattle and initiated a powerful 
campaign against the Orientals, a 
movement which was doubtless backed 
by public support, but largely unor- 
ganized. 3 Labor has always been a 
pronounced element in anti-Oriental 

With the Japanese rising rapidly 
from the status of agricultural laborers 
to tenant and in some cases to farm 
owners, the land question began to 
assume large proportions. Political 
changes at Washington and the need 
for local campaign issues played their 
part; but it was primarily the exhibi- 
tion of industry, skill and thrift, those 
qualities which Americans admire in 
themselves, which brought about a 
fresh agitation culminating in the 
Webb-Heney act of 1913 whereby 
persons ineligible to citizenship could 
not lease land for a period of more than 
three years. 4 The terms of the latter 
were considerably tightened by the 
Anti-Alien initiative measure of 1920, 

Schools there were 12 pupils born in Japan of 
whom one was 20 years old; one 19; one 18; four 
17; two 16; two 15; and one 14; the average age 
of the white girls and boys was from four to ten 
years younger. Similar statistics apply to other 
grades. The alleged moral conditions, figments 
of local prejudices, had scant if any basis in fact. 

8 In November, 1907, the Stockton Record gave 
this advice to the Native Sons of the Golden West: 
" The Native Sons can perform no greater patriotic 
service than to dedicate themselves to a sober 
and intelligent agitation of the Japanese prob- 
lem. They should resolve to hold this state 
against the threatening blight of the brown . . . 
it is all very well for our statesmen to talk of 
international obligations, of world-wide frater- 
nity and equality. Such eloquence looks nice on 
paper. It fits to the rules of diplomacy." 

4 Prof. Eugene Wambaugh recently directed 
my attention to the inability of aliens to acquire 
property in the District of Columbia. See Act 
of March 3, 1887, also Section 396 of present 

despite the opposition by the San 
Francisco Chamber of Commerce and 
other commercial bodies on the ground 
that it was unnecessarily harsh and, 
moreover, would prove ineffectual; 
the measure was carried by a ratio of 3 
to 1 with 72 per cent of the registered 
votes cast. It is interesting to record 
that San Diego County cast the heavi- 
est vote against the act; Sacramento 
County piled up the largest ratio in its 
favor, and San Francisco County and 
Los Angeles County had somewhat 
similar results — both corresponding 
fairly closely to the state-wide poll. 
Nevertheless, this land measure is not 
to be taken as a satisfactory test of 
public opinion because of mixed fea- 
tures including (1) an entirely one- 
sided press, (2) economic pressure, (3) 
the plea for a "square deal," and (4) 
post-war psychology influenced by 
Japan's Shantung demands on China 
and her reported military aggressions 
in Manchuria, Korea and Siberia. 

The latest and most fateful step has 
been the passage of the American Im- 
migration Act of 1924 which abrogated 
without notice the Gentlemen's Agree- 
ment, arranged between President 
Roosevelt and Japan in 1907, to avoid 
the exclusion issue at that troublesome 
time. Section 13 of this recent act 
excludes from admission aliens ineligi- 
ble to citizenship; therefore, it is re- 
garded, and fairly, by the Japanese as 
aimed at them since the other Asiatics 
had already been excluded. The pre- 
cipitous action of Congress was keenly 
resented by the sensitive Japanese 
people, since it appeared to question 
the good faith of the Imperial Govern- 
ment in carrying out the Gentlemen's 
Agreement and gave no time for re- 
flection and consideration — an impor- 
tant factor in Oriental psychology; it 
placed the Japanese on a par with the 
Chinese and British Indians; and it 
denied them their cherished desire for 

California's Attitude Towards the Oriental 

equal treatment by non-Asiatic gov- 
ernments. Their resentment was 
doubtless directed more against their 
failure to be placed on an equal basis 
with European countries than with 
reference to the immigration question 
proper. Although this immigration 
measure passed Congress by a large 
majority, the inclusion of Section 13 
met with hearty opposition on the part 
of much of the midwestern and eastern 
press of the United States, and was 
likewise regretted by many influential 
individuals, organizations and news- 
papers in California. 

At present writing, the local attitude 
toward the Chinese is not unfriendly; 
towards the Japanese there has been a 
somewhat better sentiment largely 
through a feeling that the immigration 
and alien land acts have removed what 
was considered a menace; and the 
British Indians amounting to less than 
five thousand, including more Sikhs 
than Hindus, are a scattered and dis- 
appearing element, and do not cause 
much irritation. 

The Problem To-Day 

The telling slogan, "Keep California 
white," centering about population 
numbers, has no exclusive reference to 
a color line; hence the phrase is most 
unfortunate. The successive Federal 
censuses of 1850, 1860 and 1870 record 
that each tenth person in this state was 
born in China; moreover, in 1880, ap- 
proximately 15 per cent of the state 
residents were Chinese, roughly equiv- 
alent to the adult white population 
of the state. Obviously, this situation 
could not go on indefinitely. As a 
result of the exclusion acts, whose 
provisions have been reasonably well 
carried out, the Chinese population 
both in the United States and on the 
Pacific Coast has been steadily de- 
creasing since 1890. The Japanese 
population, likewise excluding Hawaii, 

but including the large gains through 
births in America, increased from 55 in 
1870, 2039 in 1890, 24,326 in 1900, 
72,157 in 1910, to 111,010 in 1920. 
The gradual dispersion of Chinese and 
Japanese away from the Pacific Coast 
is shown graphically in Chart 1. 

The birth and death records for the 
Japanese appear in Chart 2, to which 
should be correlated Chart 3, which 
gives the age of distribution of Califor- 
nia's entire population. The great 
fear of Californians, that the Japanese 
population would eventually swamp the 
state, was soon widespread, especially 
when the Registrar of Vital Statistics 
of the State Board of Health expressed 
the opinion that "unless checked, the 
Japanese will, in time, equal the whites 
in number in California." Since the 
early Chinese and Japanese communi- 
ties were mainly made up of men, the 
Oriental population increase was not 
a matter of immediate fear until the 
Japanese, in accordance with local 
customs, received their young "picture 
brides." 5 The average person, living 
in the midst of racial propaganda, 
could not be expected to appreciate 
the illogical comparison, moreover, be- 
tween Japanese and the local white 
population, with no account taken that 
much of California's population con- 
sists of married people from other states 
who are in middle or later life. How- 

5 According to Japanese custom, an exchange 
of photographs and registration of domicile in 
Japan is sufficient for a legal marriage. There- 
fore, a young Japanese woman might become duly- 
married in Japan, then proceed to America to 
join her husband. Her admittance to America 
was sanctioned by the former Immigration Act. 
On the other hand, Chinese women did not come 
to America because of the existing exclusion law. 
Failure to appreciate the corresponding influx of 
Oriental women into California — as immigrants, 
future mothers, and agricultural workers has 
induced the superficial observer to have false 
notions regarding the comparative effectiveness 
in the carrying out of the Chinese exclusion acts 
and the Gentlemen's Agreement. 

The Annals of the American Academy 

California's Attitude Towards the Oriental 

The Annals of the American Academy 

ever, there was general recognition of 
the youth of the Japanese brides and 
the few childless marriages. 6 

The remarkable agricultural ability 
of the Japanese, rather than the inertia 
of the white population, is the explana- 
tion for the acknowledged place at- 
tained by the Japanese in the produc- 
tion of fruit and vegetables . The lower 
standard of living, the willingness to 
work their women and themselves at 
all hours and patient drudgery made it 
comparatively easy for the Japanese to 
obtain a commanding position in the 
case of certain distinctive and not un- 
important state agricultural products. 
Chart 5 gives the occupation distribu- 
tion, and Chart 6 gives the percentage 
of specified crops raised by them . Both 
these charts are reproduced from fig- 
ures furnished by Japanese interests 
and are probably thoroughly reliable. 
The Chinese, who had done most of the 
truck farming half a century ago, have 
left the country for the city and are 
seldom seen in agricultural pursuits. 
The native population pursues the 
world trend by forsaking rural for 
urban callings. 7 

6 For further details regarding population and 
vital statistics, consult the "Tentative Findings 
of The Survey of Race Relations", a Canadian- 
American study of the Oriental on the Pacific 
Coast, headquarters at Stanford University, 
California, 1925. To quote: "The frequently 
quoted birth rates of the Japanese are high be- 
cause they are extremely crude . . . the birth 
rate of the Japanese is very nearly the same as the 
birth rate of the white population of the state. 
In 1922 the average issue per white mother was 
2.63; the average issue per Japanese mother was 
2.83; and the average per Chinese mother was 3.26 
. . . the number of births per 1000 married 
women of child-bearing age among the white 
population of California was 125.5; among the 
Japanese, 317.2; among the Chinese, 621.1." 
The sex ratio is shown in Chart 4. 

7 "The so-called white labor in California is, 
to a large extent, made up of alien peoples, not- 
ably Italians, Portuguese, Swiss, Scandinavians 
and Armenians. The real economic competition 
in agriculture is not so much between the de- 
scendants of the white pioneers and the Orientals 

The issue in California is clouded by 
prejudice, half-truths, lies, malice, 
ignorance and by a general apathy 
which is shaken off only during periodic 
incidents. The yellow journals of 
Japan and California, read by the mul- 
titude, are great movers of public 
opinion. Moreover, it is practically 
unheard of for any consequential jour- 
nal in either Japan or California to 
adopt a pro-foreign attitude. The 
politicians, even the statesmen, must 
come in for their share of the responsi- 
bility, for, as Paul Scharrenberg, the 
thoughtful secretary of the California 
State Federation of Labor and member 
of the California State Immigration 
Commission, wrote: 

Japanese and American diplomats have 
so beclouded the main issue that the aver- 
age man who is not a member of the diplo- 
mats' union, and hence not versed in the 
fine points of that game, cannot possibly 
follow the play. 

Entirely overemphasized in the pop- 
ular California stand is an alleged 
racial inferiority factor. In fact, even 
the rabid talkers admit in private, if 
not in public, that there is no basis for 
assuming that the Oriental civilization 
is inferior to our own; it may be supe- 
rior. The important point is its marks 
of difference which appear to make 
assimilation biologically and culturally 
exceedingly difficult. " Whatever 
right-mindedness may be achieved," 
stated Viscount Bryce, "these racial 
marks still exist and cause them to be 
classified as members of their original 
class group." 

The heart of the problem is naturally 
the presence, distribution and number 

as it is between the later European immigrants 
and the Orientals. A five-months' firsthand 
survey in the Great Valley of California brings 
increasing testimony that the sons of white 
farmers of pioneer and later stock are leaving 
agriculture for business and the professions." — 
Tentative Findings, op. cit. 

California's Attitude Towards the Oriental 





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The Annals of the American Academy 

of the Japanese population in Califor- 
nia. Nearly everyone is agreed, on the 
basis of total numbers alone, that the 
admission of a few more Japanese 
would cause absolutely no concern. 
The ratio of the combined Chinese and 
Japanese to the total population in 
1920 was 2.9 per cent, a marked con- 
trast to the numerical density of the 
Chinese during the middle and later 
19th century; but the distribution in 
localities has changed greatly. The 
Chinese have mostly abandoned rural 
for urban life, segregating themselves 
into the "Chinatown" colonies of the 
larger cities. The Japanese have pre- 
ferred to stay on the land, one result of 
which is that the bulk of the state 
population knows about them by hear- 
say more than by actual contact. One 
of the important preliminary findings 
of The Survey of Race Relations is that 
the sentiment in rural communities is 
apparently much more favorable to the 
Japanese than is true elsewhere: this is 
directly contrary to the accepted belief 
that the greatest hostility is in the 
regions where the Japanese are not only 
the most numerous but also the best 
known. However, city opinion, partly 
emanating and partly expressed by 
metropolitan dailies, is the natural 
dominating force. The fact that the 
percentage of Chinese and Japanese to 
the total population in tiny Yuba 
County, for example, was 34.5 per cent 
in 1920, and that colonies in the Sacra- 
mento and San Joaquin valleys were 
conspicuous, gave useful ammunition 
for the anti- Japanese barrage. More 
important still was the concentration 
of Japanese in the most favored agri- 
cultural localities, where their intense 
energy and co-operative aggressiveness 
have been resulting in a rapid acquire- 
ment of land control. 8 

8 Dr. Elwood Mead recounted this story told by 
an elderly farmer (The Annals, January, 1921): 
"I came to this district twenty years ago. I 

The alarming increase of the state's 
Japanese population has been the chief 
cause for worry. The real purpose of 
the Gentlemen's Agreement, to put a 
stop to an increase without recourse to 
statutory legislation, had failed. 
Great alarm was experienced in a com- 
parison of Japanese and white state 
birth records, to be explained by the 
influx of a people with a lower standard 
of living and in the younger age groups. 
Figures, appearing in the guise of sta- 
tistics, were used with the utmost 
abandon — and no people can resist the 
combination of an embittered racial 
problem and rapid-firing statistics. 

It appears that the majority of Cali- 
fornians agree that the economic pres- 
sure was and is the main cause for inter- 
national friction; and from this friction, 
which partakes of competition rather 
than conflict, the social, racial and 
political aspects are emerging in more 
concrete form. 

The essence of the economic factor is 
that nothing shall be done, domesti- 

live on the farm that I bought then and where my 
six children were born. They go to the country 
school. Three years ago all their playmates 
were white children. Now all the children in 
that school except mine and those of one other 
farmer are Japanese. My white neighbors who 
have sold or leased their land to Japanese have 
gone to towns. They don't come in contact 
with these aliens. They simply take then- 
money. I live among them, but am not one of 
them. I am living there without neighbors. 
Last week a Japanese family moved into a house 
across the road in front of my home. That 
means more Japanese children in the school. It 
means that my isolation from people of my own 
race is more complete and I too am here to 
'declare myself.' 

"My farm is for sale. It is for sale to the 
first Japanese who will buy it. No white man 
will buy, for none will go into a Japanese neigh- 
borhood. When I sell, my white neighbor will 
leave and it then becomes a Japanese community. 
When that happens the trade of that community 
will go into new channels. I have always traded 
at the white man's store, put my money in the 
white man's bank, but the Japanese will do 
neither. They trade with their own race." 

California's Attitude Towards the Oriental 


cally or internationally, to lower the 
American standard of living. To com- 
pete successfully with any peoples of 
so-called inferior standards of living, 
work and pleasure, the American must 
sacrifice his standard or go out of busi- 
ness. A cultured, well-educated, 
thoroughly Christian woman of San 
Jose remarked recently: "Please don't 
misunderstand me. I have absolutely 
nothing against the Japanese and I 
admire their thrift and patience and 
skill, but oh! I am so jealous of our land 
and our young men. The Japanese 
have come in and worked for such 
small wages and under such conditions 
that our boys haven't the slightest 
chance to compete with them. It isn't 
fair that our own boys are being driven 
away from the country because of 
cheap labor and poor working condi- 
tions." Other economic considera- 
tions are a generally believed but not 
| wholly fair appraisal of Japanese com- 
| mercial honesty, 9 a disposition to take 
advantage of political influence abroad, 
government subsidies and rebates for 
merchant shipping, a demand for an 
| exorbitant increase in wages by Japa- 
[ nese laborers when fruit or vegetables 
must be harvested immediately or 
spoil, and the general practice of work- 
ing all the members of the family and 
at any hours of the day or night. No- 
where are there more industrious, less 
meddlesome, or more thrifty agricul- 
ji tural workers; moreover, no people are 
i more generous than the Japanese in 
i neighborhood gifts of choice fruits, 
(• vegetables and flowers. But they are 
[ competitors. 

The social factor is too broad to be 
definitive. There should be men- 

9 This is too large a subject to discuss in this 
article. It should be appreciated, nevertheless, 
that the Western standards of business contracts, 
so much a part of our national life, are less im- 
portant than personal contacts in the eyes of the 
Eastern world. 

tioned the Japanese language schools 
and joint attendance at public schools; 
Oriental group organizations; inter- 
marriage between Japanese and for- 
eigners is always mentioned, despite its 
rare occurrence anywhere in the world; 
religious bigotry might be included 
under this heading although it, too, is 
of minor practical importance as a 
cause for ill-feeling; segregated dwell- 
ings; an absence of personal contact 
between Occidentals and Orientals, 
between Chinese and Japanese, and 
also among some members of any race. 
It should not be overlooked that the 
inferior social status of the typical 
Chinese and Japanese coming to Amer- 
ica placed a certain stigma on all per- 
sons of the same nationality. Finally, 
even the attractive, third-generation 
American flappers of San Francisco's 
Chinatown, not less enchanting than 
their Anglo-Saxon or Latin girl friends, 
belong to Chinatown. 

The racial factor, also, is so seldom 
isolated that Californian opinion on 
this point is most difficult to ascertain. 
Where the line is to be drawn between 
racial and other features is a problem in 
itself. Unquestionably, however, a 
conflict of loyalties between America 
and the old country, Japan, enters in 
to a certain extent; therefore, Califor- 
nians look for significant signs such as 
the failure of American-born Japanese 
to take out citizen papers, 10 the sending 
of American-born to Japan to be edu- 
cated, and the close supervision exer- 
cised by Japanese associations and 
Imperial diplomatic and consular offi- 
cers. The hand of the Mikado's Gov- 
ernment was also suspected in the 
Magdalena Bay fishing scares, rumors 
of countless spies, reported stacking of 

10 The Japanese Act of 1925 reverses the proc- 
ess by requiring such persons to apply to the 
Japanese consul, providing they wish to become 
Japanese citizens: otherwise they possess only 
American citizenship. 


The Annals of the American Academy 

arms, and the usual military hysteria. 
The "Supremacy of the Yellow Races" 
is also associated with political, mili- 
tary and naval manceuvers in the 
islands of the Pacific Ocean and on the 
Asiatic mainland. The writings of 
Lafcadio Hearn have a wide circula- 
tion. Nevertheless the pronounce- 
ments of powerful propaganda, such as 
the California Joint Immigration Com- 
mittee as well as the personal state- 
ments of V. S. McClatchy, state 
emphatically that the difficulty is eco- 
nomic, not racial. 

Most unfortunately, the Japanese 
Government and people cannot be per- 
suaded that American national and 
state legislation is other than grossly 
discriminatory and has as its basis the 
indelible mark of social inferiority. 
Thus, at the passage of the Calif ornian 
land law of 1913, the Imperial Govern- 
ment stated : 

The provisions of law, under which it is 
held that Japanese people are not eligible 
to American citizenship, are mortifying to 
the government and people of Japan, since 
the racial distinction inferable from its 
provisions is hurtful to their just national 

When individual Californians have 
any feeling of superiority, the reason 
may be attributed mainly to the class 
of early Oriental immigrants; but the 
children of the latter are disproving 
even this unequal comparison by hold- 
ing their own in our schools and in- 
telligence tests. The writer strongly 
believes that it is very unusual when a 
fellow resident regards the Japanese as 
inferior. At any rate, the evidences 
are apparently far less frequent than in 
the social attitude of cultured Japanese 
in the old country towards either the 
Californian Japanese or towards East 
Indians and Chinese. On the other 
hand, Chester H. Rowell has stated 
that he experiences a distinct inferiority 
complex in the company of a cultured 

Chinese gentleman. It may be stated 
with emphasis, especially true when 
East and West meet, that personal sen- 
sitiveness on the subject of racial dis- 
crimination is more frequently the 
result of a strained imagination than 
of a stern reality. An aroused national 
feeling, fed by a yellow press and loose 
agitators, fails to analyze the entirely 
different motives of economic pressure, 
charitable donations in times of dis- 
aster, politics, patriotism, interna- 
tionalism and the continued extremely 
cordial diplomatic relations. 

The political equation in America is 
an unsettling yet powerful element in 
Japanese- American relations. Lo- 
cally, the anti-Japanese groups find it 
a simple matter to enroll parties and 
candidates on their side; and the appeal 
to this manifestation of "One Hundred 
Per Cent Americanism" is welcomed 
by aspirations for office. The situa- 
tion is unlike that of Greeks and 
Italians, for example, whose votes are 
courted in Massachusetts and else- 
where; there are very few Orientals 
who are registered voters, therefore 
political campaigns based largely on 
this issue entail the minimum amount 
of possible political damage. It is 
noteworthy that Federal anti-Oriental 
legislation, directed first against the 
Chinese and later against the Japanese, 
has been agitated and passed just be- 
fore Presidential elections. Coast 
friends of the Orientals sometimes 
claim that the whole movement is 
political. Actually, however, the local 
politicians are interpreting the real 
feelings of the majority of their con- 
stituents, while Congress has become 
duly impressed with the political bal- 
ance held by California and the other 
Coast states and the apparently inflex- 
ible stand taken on the exclusion issue. 
The overwhelming passage of Section 
13 of the Immigration Act of 1924 was 
due principally to the concentrated 

California's Attitude Towards the Oriental 


attention and education given to 
national Congressmen by the deter- 
mined spokesmen for a "White Cali- 
fornia." In the opinion of the writer, 
this was an excellent example of the 
use, and abuse, of the legislative func- 
tion by a modern democracy. 

Exclusion or Restriction? 

California is too vast and too diver- 
gent in its interests to have any individ- 
ual or group as its sole spokesman. 
Within the Golden State are the same 
extreme views which one would en- 
counter in any part of the Union. 
For example, some preach and practice 
the Brotherhood of Man; some ask the 
same naturalization rights for Orientals 
as for Europeans; some prominent 
persons hope for Chinese indentured 
labor; and one meets individuals who 
are heartily in favor of denying citizen- 
ship to all persons of Asiatic origin. 
In the present analysis, these expres- 
sions can be discarded practically. 
Too much consideration, however, 
cannot be given to the nearly unani- 
mous view that either exclusion or 
restriction of immigration is necessary; 
the only divergence has been as to the 
method of dealing with the Japanese 
Government and the treatment of 
Orientals within our borders who have 
come virtually upon our invitation. 
Bishop Edward L. Parsons, of Califor- 
nia, wrote in the New York Churchman: 

To sum up : a true American policy is the 
same as a true Christian policy. It means 
an agreement with Japan in the interests of 
world peace to stop further immigration; 
and it means an honest effort to x\merican- 
ize the Japanese already here. Until such 
efforts have failed, we have no right to 
appeal to what is essentially force. 

Usually the immigration and Ameri- 
canization features are much confused. 
The extreme views of organized 
labor, the American Legion, the Native 
Sons, the Grange, together with ex- 
Senator Phelan, Attorney General 

Webb, and V. S. McClatchy, are rep- 
resented in the California Joint Im- 
migration Committee, an organization 
which went on record in the fall of 1924 
(partly as the result of a false charge 
regarding a Japanese resident, and 
partly to soften the blow of Section 13) 
as favoring the "square deal" for resi- 
dent Orientals. The friendly Japanese 
Relations Committee of California 
reported in 1920 that "the greatest 
hindrance to friendly relations between 
Japan and the United States is the in- 
creasing number of permanent Japa- 
nese residents." Big business is well- 
disposed toward industrious aliens like 
the Japanese or Chinese. 

The California Federation of Wom- 
en's Clubs (1924) expressed to the 
women of the Orient and the Occident 
"our desire that we may arrive at an 
understanding of and a friendship for 
each other." The Commonwealth 
Club at San Francisco, in 1923, unani- 
mously resolved that "immigration 
for the sake of cheap labor should be 
prohibited." The Southern California 
Sunday School Convention proceeded 
upon the assumption that "we under- 
stand that the Japanese Government is 
not asking for free immigration." An 
American missionary from Japan, 
speaking in Stockton lately, said: 
"There'll be no exclusive districts in 
the Kingdom of Heaven. . . . This 
does not mean that we missionaries 
believe in free and unlimited immigra- 
tion of the Japanese. It is not the 
fact of exclusion to which we object — 
it is the method of exclusion. This is 
also the point of view taken by the 
Japanese." The church and mission- 
ary organizations have protested 
against the spirit and methods em- 
ployed in dealing with Oriental rela- 
tions, but they too do not publicly 
advocate unrestricted immigration, but 
state their Christian belief that they 
"are unalterably opposed to any and 
all legislation which discriminates 


The Annals of the American Academy 

against any particular nation." 11 Fi- 
nally, it should be made clear that the 
individual churches in the state do not 
authorize any outside organization to 
speak for them, but as individual com- 
municants they are nevertheless in 
sympathy with the purpose, although 
not with the method, of Oriental im- 
migration acts; and, it must be ad- 
mitted, many ordained clergymen take 
a surprisingly extreme stand for ex- 
clusion. Generally speaking, however, 
there is abundant evidence in Califor- 
nia of great latent goodwill towards 
Japan and the Japanese, once fears are 
removed or greatly diminished. 12 

These words of President Ray Lyman 
Wilbur, of Stanford University, to Dr. 
Tasuku Harada, in 1920, are doubtless 
true to-day: 

The present anti-Japanese sentiment 
seems to me to be fairly universal among all 
classes of citizens (except perhaps among 
those who might be called the strictly in- 
tellectual groups) in California, Washing- 
ton and Oregon. The present temper of 
the people of California is not normal and 
would be hard to satisfy. . . . My own idea 
is that an open survey of the whole question 
by representatives of both nations would 
lead to a clear understanding of all the prob- 
lems involved and would clear away many 
of the misconceptions. 

11 Rev. F. M. Larkin, executive secretary of the 
California State Church Federation, wrote me in 
August, 1925: "On the subject of immigration, 
there is a wide difference of opinion. In the 
north there are more people than in the south 
who are opposed to all Oriental immigration. 
It is my opinion, however, that the majority of 
ministers and our people are in favor of a law 
which would provide for the admission of Orien- 
tals into this country on exactly the same basis 
as immigration from European countries. There 
is a strong opposition to unlimited immigration 
and it is believed that the small number of 
Orientals who would be admitted under such a 
provision would not disturb our social relations 
with the Orient, which we believe is essential to 
the future civilization." 

12 The state of public opinion in 1920, some- 
what less vehement now, appears in the following 
extract of a talk before the Commonwealth Club 
by Congressman William Kent: "We have reason 

To iron out these misunderstandings, 
to secure "a meeting of the minds," is 
the great task in Japanese-American 
co-operation upon which depends a 
continued happy era of "Peace on the 
Pacific." Public opinion in the two 
countries is now at logger-heads. 
Japan feels brutally injured by the 
abrupt disregarding of the Gentlemen's 
Agreement through the enactment of a 
statutory exclusion act. Many Cali- 
fornians deeply regret the means 
chosen by Congress to reach an end 
attainable equally well by means ac- 
ceptable to both peoples. Now that 
the offense has been inflicted, they., like 
other sensitive Americans, are at a loss 
to know how to placate Japan. Japan, 
on the other hand, claims to oppose as 
strongly as Americans a mass immi- 
gration movement of her subjects into 
the rich state of California. Since the 
population increase is the only issue 
about which Californians are seriously 
concerned, 13 the question is more a matter 
of mutual understanding that of irrecon- 
cilable differences. 

Inadvisability of Quota Plan 
From even the California point of 
view, the application of the quota 

to fear Japan, unless we watch our step. Japan 
is deliberate in its motions. I am sure as I can 
be of anything that it looks forward to conquest 
— to settlement of many parts of the world. I 
do not blame the Japanese for this. I have seen 
a very frank statement from a Japanese professor 
who stated that they were in close quarters; that 
they proposed to expand; that the white race had 
grabbed off the best part of the land and they 
proposed to get their part of it. This isn't 
pleasant to consider, from the standpoint of our 
white descendants. It points clearly to what 
may happen. 

" I have long been an apostle of peace. I have 
gone as far as a man could in that direction, but 
I can't go far enough in my desire for peace to 
look forward to the Mongolizing of the state of 
California or the United States, nor to the 
creation of a mongrel race." 

13 What better evidence is there than the state- 
ment of the Japanese Relations Committee in 
1920, when the Sub-Committee composed of 
Reuben B. Hale, now president of California De- 

California's Attitude Towards the Oriental 


provision to Japanese would make no 
material difference in the number of 
immediate immigrants, but it would be 
a loop-hole providing a change was 
made in the general Immigration Act 
to permit the admission of relatives. 
Stated more fully, these are the 
arguments contained in the latest 
publication of the California Joint 
Immigration Committee, which would 
be endorsed by hundreds of thous- 
ands of Calif ornians: 

Adoption of the plan would entail aban- 
donment of the Nation's established policy 
of excluding aliens ineligible to citizenship 
and of the principle upon which that policy 
is founded; it would necessitate granting a 
similar privilege to all Asiatic races, or 
gratuitously offending many of them by 
discriminating against them and in favor of 
Japanese; it is known now that the quota 
plan alone would not satisfy Japan and her 
friends, and that it would serve only as an 
entering wedge for demand for unrestricted 
entrance of women for wives, for land own- 
ership and for citizenship, etc. 

Furthermore, in the opinion of the 
writer, it is decidedly questionable 
whether the reopening of the immigra- 
tion provisions would not be the worst 
possible procedure for pricking national 
sensibilities already sore but in a heal- 
ing process. Already there are por- 
tents that Californians who have been 
past leaders in anti-Oriental agitation 

velopment Association, Milton H. Esberg, a 
leading Coast business man, and Chester H. 
Rowell, now president of the California Academy 
of Social Science, reported to Chairman Wallace 
M. Alexander, for several years president of the 
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and leader 
in State activities: "The existing dissatisfaction 
with the Gentlemen's Agreement among the 
people of California is due to the fact that during 
the life of that Agreement the Japanese immi- 
grant population has substantially increased. 
The people will be satisfied with anything which 
actually results in a cessation of that increase and 
will continue critical unless this occurs. The 
test will be the fact, regardless of explanations. 
The reasons why this result is desirable are well 
understood in both countries, and have been 

would not raise serious objections to a 
revision of certain of the discriminatory 
state statutes. 14 

In Conclusion 

What is most needed is a clearing 
house of information, such as may be 
expected from the recently organized 
Institute of Pacific Relations which 
met in Hawaii this summer. Most 
important, however, it is to discover 
and harmonize the views of the follow- 
ing important groups: (1) the Ameri- 
can, Chinese and Japanese govern- 
ments; (2) the Orientals located on the 
American and Canadian Pacific Coast; 
(3) the native white residents of this 
Pacific area. Who should be the prime 
spokesman for American-resident Ori- 
entals? In conclusion, from an analy- 
sis of the various factors in the situa- 
tion, the writer believes that the past 
California position, which in many 
respects has virtually become the 
American position, 15 can within a few 
years undergo a considerable modifica- 
tion in both its public and private 

embodied, as Japanese policy, in the Gentlemen's 
Agreement. It is understood that the Japanese 
Government intends to take further steps toward 
the more effective practical realization of the 
purposes of the Agreement, and it is evident that 
the two governments should co-operate to this 
end. Criticism of the failure of the Gentlemen's 
Agreement to prevent the increase of population 
does not raise any question of good faith of the 
Japanese Government in its actions under the 
Agreement, but does recognize that there are 
individual Japanese who desire to evade its 
intent, and that the people of California believe 
that many of them have succeeded in doing so." 

14 This bears out the statement in the Tentative 
Findings of The Survey of Race Relations that 
"Since the enactment of the land laws and the 
Federal exclusion law, the Pacific Coast has had 
a kindlier feeling toward its Japanese popula- 

15 President Coolidge, in signing the Immigra- 
tion Act of 1924, made this statement regarding 
the exclusion provision: "There is scarcely any 
ground for disagreement as to the result we want, 
but this method of securing it is unnecessary and 
deplorable at this time."